Category Archives: Our school in India

Here I will share information related to our school in India, as well as why education is so important in developing countries.

Why is education for women so important?

old woman in india

Why is education for women so important?  For a country whose population of women alone is more than the total population of many other countries, India ranks low where the treatment of women is concerned. The number of sexual abuse and domestic violence cases against women clearly shows that women in India do not enjoy even basic human rights. In this scenario, what can be done?

It is a well-established fact that education for girls, as well as for boys, is the only true long-term solution to any problem this huge.  Education exposes children to different thoughts and beliefs.  They learn to think for themselves, and decide for themselves what is right or wrong.  It helps them get out of the clutch of currently accepted social norms so they can set new standards for themselves and for their children.

And educated girl will grow up to be a woman who understands that there are other ways of living than those her mother was forced to endure. An educated boy will learn to treat all people with respect.  It is through education that men learn to treat women as equals.  It is through the perspective of people other than their parents that children learn about new ways of life.

This is why education is so important for the future of any country.  Education charities can play a vital role in the country’s development.  One such charity is Badarikashram.  Through this organization children in rural India receive schooling, at least one meal a day, and the medical services they need. Your help will go a long way to further the movement towards fair treatment of women in India through education.  For more information on your many donation options with Badarkishrama, please go to:

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The Uneducated Epidemic in India Today


There is an uneducated epidemic going on in India today.  Did you know that Indian government reports show that fifty-nine million children between the ages of six and fourteen years old do not go to school? Official information also shows that only a little over one-third of all children who enroll in first grade ever reach eight grade. Can you believe this is in a country which has made education for children in the age group of six to fourteen years a fundamental right?

Do these numbers startle or concern you?  If so, consider donating online for the education of poor children in India. Education for children is the key to a bright future of any country, and thus education charities can potentially play a vital role in the country’s development.  One such charity is Badarikashram.  Through this organization children in rural India receive schooling, at least one meal a day, and the medical services they need. Your help will go a long way to provide educational opportunities for children who would otherwise be left behind.  For more information on your many donation options with Badarkishrama, please go to

donate to badarikashrama


Sri Ramakrishna’s message of God-consciousness – Part 2

Return to Part 1

Sri Ramakrishna

Sri Ramakrishna represents the very core of spiritual realization to seekers of many religions around the world.  He was so free of religious bias he studied the paths of Islam and Christianity and attained the highest form of God-consciousness through each of them also.  He saw Jesus and Buddha as incarnations of God himself, and respected all the past and present Gurus of his time.  He described the essence of own personal twelve year spiritual journey in the saying “As many faiths, so many paths.”

He became known near and far for his divine personality and people flocked to him from all religions, walks of life, castes, and races.  Anyone who met Sri Ramakrishna felt uplifted by his universal outlook, boundless love, and profound God-consciousness.

In modern times, the greatest contribution of Sri Ramakrishna is his message of harmony and tolerance of all religions.  He himself practiced the spiritual disciplines of several different religions and came to believe that all of them lead to the same goal: communion with God.  In the present day world, a fellowship of religions based on this common goal would bring harmony and peace amongst us all.

Sri Ramakrishna passed away in 1886.  May his life and message ever inspire us.




Sri Ramakrishna’s message of God-consciousness – Part 1

Sri Ramakrishna

In a recent conversation about Swami Omkarananda I was told that from the very beginning he based his spiritual philosophy on the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda.  Swami Vivekananda was a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna’s, in the same way that Swami Mangalananda is/was a disciple of Swami Omkarananda’s.  This made me very curious about Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda, so I did some research.  This is what I found out about Sri Ramakrishna.

Sri Ramakrishna was born in 1836 in the village of Kamarpukur just north of Calcutta.  He was the fourth of five children to poor parents.  At a young age he exhibited strong spiritual tendencies, which included ecstatic experiences, long periods of contemplation, and a deep interest in the study and worship of the gods Shiva and Krishna.  As he grew his whole life was literally a contemplation of God.  Through his God-intoxicated life, he showed that the revelations of God can take place at any and all times.  He also proved that God-realization is not the exclusive honor of any particular time, country, or people.  Sri Ramakrishna did not form any cult or sub-religion.  His message to the world was his God-consciousness, and that when that falls short, traditions become oppressive and religious teachings lose their true meaning.

Go to Part 2




Take a look at what we’ve been up to…

Several years ago, to help educate people about his project in India, Swamiji put together a short video.  I was excited to find a copy of it on YouTube, so I decided to post it here.  They mention Badarikashrama Vidyashala several times in the video.  Vidyashala simply means “school.”  Enjoy!


Namaste. Welcome to the Badarikashrama Vidyashala presentation.  The Badarikashrama India Center is situated in the picturesque farming village called Madihalli, about 77 miles from Bangalore.  The founder and president of Badarikashrama is Swami Omkarananda.

The ashrama provides children with education, mid-day meals, and health and wellness care.  It also provides bus service to pick up the children from surrounding villages.  Some children are brought in from as far as 50 miles away.

The school was supposed to have been completed in 2010.  When the school is completed it should accommodate 1000 students from pre-school to middle school, with 36 classrooms, a library, computer room, playground, sports room, and offices.

We greatly appreciate your generous donations to continue this project.  It was not able to be completed in 2010, but continues ahead as funds become available.  We need your help.  Please join us with your generous support to help the betterment of humanity at large. We thank you.

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Swami Mangalananda’s Om Sweet Om


(This article was written by Anneli Rufus of the East Bay Express, Arts & Culture Section, Dec 2010)

One day 22 years ago, a former hippie threw her shorn hair into the Ganges, said her final monastic vows, and never looked back. Swami Mangalananda describes herself as “a WASP from Wisconsin,” but she’s also a Hindu nun and the secretary of Badarikashrama (15602 Maubert Ave., San Leandro).

“My interest in non-Western philosophies began in high school and continued through the Sixties,” she said. “I became a vegetarian. I listened to Indian music. By dressing in Madras clothes and Indian jewelry and living communally, a lot of us in those days were imitating the people of Eastern cultures without completely realizing it. I went through a very strong Christian phase, then an agnostic phase. I was disenchanted with religion, yet I had spiritual longings and altered states of consciousness and a lot of spiritual experiences — not just from drugs.”

A devoted peace activist and civil-rights campaigner, “I developed a very strong attachment for Mahatma Gandhi, and that attachment stayed with me,” Mangalananda said. “I didn’t become a yuppie. Sometimes I actually chose poverty.”

While living in San Leandro and studying health education at San Francisco State University, she wandered into Badarikashrama one day. It was the first Hindu temple she’d ever visited. Immediately inspired by its founder, Swami Omkarananda, she began working at the ashram, taking classes, and becoming first a student monk, then a full nun. She stuck with it. In 1997, Omkarananda transferred her to Badarikashrama’s fifty-acre sister ashram in Madihalli, India.

Why Badarikashrama?

Morning assembly before school in Madihalli

When I talk about the work Badarikashram is doing in India, people’s first question to me is always “Why this particular organization?  There are so many others that do exactly the same thing, but they are more established than this one”. And I say, “That is exactly why!”

The reason I support Badarikashrama, in particular, is because they are small, and their administration costs are kept to a minimum. I know that the money that I donate to the them will actually go to the project I designate. No money will be skimmed off the top to line the pockets of the various middle men who work at a more established organization.

In the past, when I have donated money to charities, I was disheartened to discover that so much of it went into the operation of the organization instead of directly to the people it was set up to assist. I find it extremely gratifying that the money that I donate to Badarikashrama goes directly to the service project it was intended for. And if I feel the need, I can catch a flight to South India and see for myself!

I’m happy to know that the money that I donate to this ashrama (temple) is being used as promised. I want to spread the word about this unique opportunity to help build a learning institution for those less fortunate, because I believe that other people feel the same way I do.  They want to give money, but they want to make sure it goes to the people they intended it for.



Introduction to Project Teach a Child

Welcome to Project Teach a Child.  We are a fundraising organization whose mission is to raise funds to help with the expansion of the school for the poor in Madihalli,  India.  We were started as an inspiration of Monica Sawyer and Neelam Wadhwani.

Teach a child, Hinduism, temple, school for the poor, poor children,

Swami Omkarananda of Badarikashrama.

Monica and Neelam first met Swami Omkarananda, the Priest of Badarikashrama, when their parents moved to California in 1976.  They were both in their single digit ages and bonded to Swamiji’s kindness and gentleness immediately.  At the time Swamiji was performing small Hindu ceremonies for his few devotees out of a small room in his apartment.  Since then, as the girls grew up, went to college, got married, Swamiji gathered money to begin a small temple, which then grew to what is now known as Badarikashrama in San Leandro, CA.

In 1983, as Monica was planning to enter college, Swamiji finally dove into making his own dream come true.  Two acres of land were donated toward the establishment of an Ashram in India, and with the help of Swami Mangalananda and many dedicated devotees it has grown from a mere two-acres of barren land to over 50 acres of thriving orchards, mango gardens, coconut groves, a residential facility for visitors and ongoing cultural and spiritual activities for devotees.  And now, as per Swamiji’s original dream, it hosts a primary school that benefits boys and girls in this rural area. They are in the process of building a middle school and high school to further the education of the children of the area.

Neelam and Monica have heard the stories from Swamiji and Mangala ji for years and have been fortunate enough to be able to donate funds to help further the cause.  Swamiji is not one to ask for funds directly and has appreciated greatly the generous donations of his many faithful devotees.  However, his current ambition to grow the school further to be able to benefit more children, has required him to ratchet up his request for donations.  Although all of us already involved in the support of the Ashram and school can increase our donations, it has come time to start reaching out in more creative ways to the world community to gain support of this incredible work that is being done for the good of poor children in India.  As everyone knows, the only way for a child to have any kind of chance for a better life in this world is to get at least a basic education.  It is Swamiji’s hope to give these children a chance at a better, healthier, and happier life than they would normally have had if they were not educated.

And so, to this end, Neelam and Monica decided to start this site.  Please enjoy the stories and information we share here.  And if you feel so inclined, we would love it if you helped support this effort.  Badarikashrama is not a large organization. There are no administration costs given to directors, officers, and employees of the charity.  Swamiji lives on-site at the temple and only uses what he needs to live.  Swamiji epitomizes spiritual  awareness through active meditation, service, dedication and self-discipline.  So most of the funds donated to the temple go to it’s many projects in service to the growth of humanity.  For this reason you can feel assured that your funds will be used well for the purposes you intend.  To learn more about how to donate, please go to:

We welcome you to our little adventure here on this site.  We hope it provides inspiration to you in your daily life.  And if you have suggestions or requests please contact us.  We’d love to find new ways to make this site as useful as possible.

With warm wishes for your most joyful life,

Neelam and Monica

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